Import Irony: China Buys Its Chopsticks From A Small Georgia Town

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It seems everything we buy these days says “Made in China.” But millions of the Asian nation’s iconic chopsticks are proudly made in the U.S.A.

Two hours south of Atlanta lies the source of millions of Chinese chopsticks. Who would have thought? It’s hard to imagine a place more quintessentially red, white and blue – the town, nestled firmly in the heartland of Georgia, is called Americus.

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And their luck runs as deep as their love for country: Americus has the ideal type of wood for making chopsticks. The abundant forests of poplar and sweet gum trees in the area strike the perfect balance between hardness and softness, making a comfortable yet sturdy eating utensil for many across the world.

What’s more, the region is no stranger to wood harvesting, with pine manufacturers and paper corporations – think Georgia-Pacific – helping to ease the industry’s barriers to entry.  Jae Lee created Georgia Chopsticks in November and is already producing 2 million chopsticks each day. They’re selling their craft primarily to Chinese supermarkets but also are helping hungry people in Japan, Korea and the U.S.

Lee has seen a huge increase in demand over the past few months as the Chinese look to America – and specifically, Americus – for a product so natively associated with their culture.

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